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Stevens Canyon - April 8, 2009

Distance: 14.7 miles Ascent: 2398 ft. Moving time: 1:53 hours

The drizzle stopped and the threat of thunder had disappeared, so it was a good time for an afternoon ride up Stevens Canyon. I parked at Redwood Gulch and as I was preparing to leave another rider drove past and then backed up to ask for information. I invited him along for the ride, but I didn't remember his name.

It was fun riding up to the trailhead chatting with someone new. The ride itself was a typical route: Canyon Trail, Indian Creek and Montebello to the summit, and down Belle Vista and Canyon Trail. We rode together to the bottom of Indian Creek, where my new friend had to turn around due to time constraints (and perhaps a bit of fatigue!). I continued on up to the summit and back alone.

What made this ride more notable was the amount of wildlife I saw. I saw turkeys at the base of Mt. Eden Road on the way in and several more on the trail. I think it is turkey mating season, so there were several toms gobbling to define their territory and find some mates. We also saw lots of newts on and along the trail. I think the recent light rains had brought them out. We probably saw over a hundred and had to work hard to avoid a few that were crossing the trail. I also saw several herds of deer along the trail, including one herd near the top that I seem to have startled as a I came around a curve. I also saw a bobcat at the backpackers' camp at the top of Belle Vista. The combination of the weather and the lack of other riders (being a mid-week ride) resulted in lots of animals being out and about. There were several different types of wildflowers in bloom as well.

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